Be My First Chapter Beta Reader

I am currently undertaking the daunting task of reading my entire novel out loud to myself.  As I’ve discovered with my vampire short story series, and even the second book to the Akasha Series, ‘Air’, this method works wonders for catching hard to spot grammar/spelling mistakes and awkward sentences.  Although ‘Water’ has been on the market since September 2011, I haven’t yet put it through this process.  I have vowed to have this done by the time we go to Canada for our kid’s spring break trip (better get a move on because that is next week). Anyway, by the time I finished reading the first chapter out loud, I decided it needed a complete rework.

Whether you have read ‘Water’ yet or not, I would very much appreciate your input on the short 637 word excerpt below.  Does it grab your attention? Do you want to find out more? Does the dragon analogy work? If you have read ‘Water’, should I just stick with what is already there? Please leave your comments and thank you!!!

Chapter 1: Avalanche 

I leaned forward.  The board strapped to my boots responded.  Slicing through the fresh powder, I made a sharp curve to the right.  A quick glance uphill showed the wave of snow had almost tripled in size, and it was about to catch up to me.

More than anything else, it was the noise that pumped me full of adrenaline.  Like the roar of an angry, unrelenting dragon; breath stinking of the earth churned up in its path.  The entire right side of the unmarked backcountry trail was a wall of thick trees, impossible to break through.  I pulled my toes up, arching back to the left side of the trail.  But I wasn’t going to make it.  The dragon’s spittle pelted me on the back of my neck, sending chills down my spine.  Instead, I pointed my snowboard straight downhill and put all my weight on my forward leg, hoping to outrun the beast.

I willed my board to go faster than I ever dared before.  The avalanche was faster.  The dragon opened its mouth wide, closing in on me from both sides and overhead, blocking out the bright blue sky and the trees to the side of me with its gray jaws.  The slope beneath me cracked and slithered forward, like the monster’s forked tongue.  As the force of nature dropped over me, I closed my eyes and threw my arms around my head.  My screams were lost deep inside the creature.

Completely engulfed, I moved with the dragon.  The whole of the trail had transformed into its body; an agitated, unstoppable river of churning snow and debris.  The world became darker and darker, the snow heavier and heavier.  Flashes of light were few and far between.

When I gasped for air, I was sometimes rewarded with a clear breath but more often than not I sucked in a mouthful of snow.  Hacking to rid my throat of the slush, I came to the awful realization that I was drowning on dry land.

My hands, flailing for something solid to hang onto, finally caught hold of a tree.  Small as it was, it held fast against the merciless rush of snow.  I fought against nature, literally holding on for my life.  I wrapped myself around the trunk as two large branches just above me ripped away and disappeared in the churning white waves, along with my screams.  I squeezed so tight the rough bark scratched at my arms and cheek.  The scent of pine was strong, and I inhaled deeply as though the scent alone would keep me tethered to the tree.  I willed the roots to be strong.

They were, but I was not.  My grip started to loosen as my tired muscles and numb fingers were unable to hold on against the rushing snow.  I lost the stable trunk and returned to the tumble of snow.

I came to a halt just like the rest of the debris of the Canadian mountainside.  A small air pocket had formed, allowing me to spit out the coppery taste of blood.  Suffocation couldn’t be too far off, encased in an immobile block of ice as I was.  Feeble attempts at movement proved useless.  Silence settled in on me as I heard the last of the snow come to a halt above me.  Tolerating its crushing weight because I had no choice, I was left as I always was – alone.  Most of the time I preferred it that way; people were nothing but annoying.  But annoying or not, having someone who at least knew of my vacation plans would have been welcome.

As the numbness slowly receded, pain returned to one hand.  I wiggled my fingers.  They were free, possibly above the surface.  I grimaced.  Great – at least the wolves would find me.  Closed casket for me.

9 thoughts on “Be My First Chapter Beta Reader

  1. I love it, I think the description of the dragon as the avalanche works very well, it is just like a hungry beast swallowing everything in its path. A very exciting first chapter:)

  2. That was great! It definitely caught my attention. I thought every aspect of the dragon analogy was perfect! Also, I like how the ending has a bit of information about the character’s background and personality. At first, the excerpt didn’t seem like my usual type of read, but having that connection with the character drew me in to learn more. I am looking forward to reading Water :-)

    • Thanks, Kris! My early, early, early versions of the chapter were packed with TMI on the main character, but now I’m afraid there isn’t enough. I’m glad I seem to have it right, though. Plenty of time for backstory later! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Your writing is so amazing! You are so descriptive without being over descriptive. I loved this. I could SO visualize it as I was reading it!

    This fits SO WELL into Water which I will say PROUDLY I freaking LOVED! It was awesome!!!!!!!!!

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